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The Flim-Flam Man Does Pennsylvania Avenue

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It’s so damn American. The settler class of white Europeans living away from the big mean city get conned by a loudmouth bullshittin’ big city con man who has never made an honest buck in his life. He plays into their fears; of brown skinned foreigners, angry black people still pissed about their ancestors being enslaved, uppity women who misuse the rights they got, and big city banks and financiers who just want to take their money and their land.  Promising to keep the scared people safe, the film-flam man goes back to his rich friends, laughing to himself about how he loves the uneducated.

I don’t do election analysis much. However those who attribute Trump’s victory solely to the anger of those screwed by neoliberal capitalism are ignoring a very real fact. That fact is the racism of many Trump supporters and the racism he ignited.  After all, when it comes to the harm caused by neoliberal capitalism, it wasn’t just rural white peoples or white workers who were affected negatively by this economic trend.  Take a look: unemployment rates are much higher in Black communities, Latinos had to leave their countries to find work after the globalist nature of neoliberalism destroyed their local economies while refugees from predominantly Muslim countries had to move from their homes because the war of neoliberal capitalism led by Washington destroyed them. So, if Trump’s message really was solely one of opposition to the excesses of neoliberalism, like Bernie Sanders’ was, he would have had the support of many more non-whites. But he didn’t, nor did he want them. There’s a reason why the klan and the nazis endorsed trump. It’s a reason as American as apple pie. It’s called racism.

Because Trump is such a con man, nobody is ever sure he means what he says. Like other men who have been in the White House in the past forty years (Reagan, Dubya Bush), Trump is not a very politically sophisticated person.  Consequently, once he is inaugurated he will rely on the people advising him. Looking at those who he has suggested he wants as advisors, this means some very reactionary ideas will become policy. The lives of those working class folks who voted for him will likely not get better. If they do, it will be at the expense of other workers.   As for the women, they are likely to see their choices diminish, especially when it comes to contraception.  The intimidation of immigrants and refugees will certainly increase as will the attacks on African-Americans by police.  White racists will come further out of the shadows as they cash in their support for the new leader.

Looking at photos of those celebrating Trump’s victory in Manhattan, I saw a bunch of young men who were white and well-fed.  They looked like upper middle class fratboys who knew their ship had come in.  These are the folks who will benefit from this man’s reign.  Despite the downturn of the markets in the wake of Trump’s victory, the fact is that capital will make friends with anyone who like capitalism, even fascists. Is he a fascist?  As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on that.  However, I do want to point out that fascism usually arrives slowly.  Here in the United States the economic foundation is already in place, Trump’s desire to further corporatize the US government only enhances that.  As the members of the Frankfurt School pointed out about Hitler’s rise, fascism was installed in Germany via a series of ongoing pacts between the financial/corporate oligarchy and the Nazis.

There is only one answer to the situation we now face.  Resistance.  On every front.

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Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

CounterPunch Magazine

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